Category Archives: Klaus Voormann’s Record Cover Art

Klaus Voormann’s Covers.

I don’t really know why I haven’t done it before. I felt kind of forced to make a list of my covers with art by Banksy before the collection was shipped off to Rome for the “War, Capitalism & Liberty” exhibition which opened in May 2016. I had a basic list of my collection of covers with Andy Warhol art, but I needed lists of Peter Blake‘s, Damien Hirst‘s and Klaus Voormann‘s covers. Finally last month I  sat down and started compiling these lists and was surprised to find that there are seventy-six covers with Klaus Voormann‘s art!

Then, just as I had finished my list I saw an advert for a book entitled “Albums with Cover Art by Klaus Voormann“. Well, naturally, I thought someone else had done the work for me. So I bought it. What a disappointment! It only lists eleven covers designed by Klaus and included a number of covers not designed by him. None of his covers designed for German artists are mentioned and none of his early jazz covers. There are several pages devoted to the recording of “Concert for Bangladesh” with pictures of the original box set and a reissue, neither of which were designed by Voormann! The book, produced by Books LLC, Wiki Series, Memphis, Tennessee, is thus a complete waste of money. Well, not quite–the book did show a picture of Wet Wet Wet‘s 2007 single “Too Many People” which has a cover drawing by Klaus Voormann.

Albums-häfte-fr
A little booklet purporting to list Klaus Voormann’s record covers.

I already have Wet Wet Wet‘s CD “Timeless“, both as the official CD and a promo version with two different Voormann covers. After a bit of research I found the there were two CDs of the “Too Many People” too.

Then Thorsten Knublauch, an expert on The Beatles‘ early days in Hamburg, who sold me my original copy of the Paddy, Klaus & Gibson 10″ compilation EP tipped me off about a CD by Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes entitled “Fretterning Behaviour” with classic Voormann art.

Fretterning Behaviour
Cover art for Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes CD “Fretterning Behaviour”.

Almost simultaneously, I saw a seven-inch single advertised on Ebay of Klaus Voormann‘s song “Lu Le La Lu“, which he recorded for Apple in the sixties but which was never released. A group called Wishful Thinking released the song as a single in 1974. Now http://www.aisforapplebooks.com released a limited edition of 1000 copies (250 of which were autographed by Klaus) featuring a remastered version of Klaus‘s recording of the song backed with Wishful Thinking‘s version. The single, in a gatefold cover with Klaus Voormann‘s self portrait from 1960 on the front cover, is sold in aid of a charity for refugees.

LuLeLaLu-fr
The front cover of the split single with Klaus Voormann’s version of “Lu Le La Lu” on the “A” side and Wishful Thinking’s version on the “B” side. The cover picture is Klaus Voormann’s 1960 selfportrait.

At the same time another Ebay seller was selling a 1974 Jimmy Smith album entitled “Black Smith” and stated that the cover was by Klaus Voormann. I was very surprised to see this and started searching for confirmation that the cover art was by Klaus as I didn’t feel that it was typical of his work. It didn’t take long to find a picture of the rear cover with clear credit to Voormann. So I had to order a copy, which wasn’t too difficult as there were many for sale at very reasonable prices.

Suddenly there were these five Klaus Voormann covers, which I had missed! I could have almost done without the book on Klaus Voormann‘s record cover art, although it did tell me about the Wet Wet Wet singles. But, apart from that, I’m sure I could do a better job myself.

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A New Klaus Voormann Record Cover – And An Old One I Didn’t Know Existed

The Internet is a fantastic research tool for collectors. One doesn’t have to buy anything but it provides a wealth of databases from which to search. Researching record covers has been made so much easier thanks to record databases such as Discogs, Musicstack and others. Even Ebay and Etsy are great databases to use in searches.

I researched my post on Kate Moss on record covers entirely via the Internet. I owned three covers with Kate Moss’s portrait and bought a fourth as I found it available despite apparently being very rare. I have even researched Roy Lichtenstein‘s art on record sleeves via Ebay and Discogs without buying a single cover.

So, despite a smug feeling that I already had ALL his record covers, I was doing my usual weekly search for Klaus Voormann’s record cover art a couple of weeks ago when a new cover appeared. A record by a group which went by the (not so lyrical) name of Paddy, Klaus & Gibson.

Paddy, Klaus & Gibson's 10
Paddy, Klaus & Gibson’s 10″ EP.

A copy was for sale on http://www.ebay.de and I jumped at the chance. It turned out that the seller was famous German Thorsten Knublauch, collector of Beatles material from their Hamburg days and author of books on the Fab Four. He told me that fellow Beatles expert Dieter Hoffmann had produced this compilation album to document an early phase in Klaus Voormann‘s musical career.

The following information comes from a blog post by Thorsten Knublauch reviewing the album (see: http://wogew.blogspot.de/2015/02/paddy-klaus-gibson.html). Klaus Voormann had bought ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe‘s Höfner bass when he left the band and hopped into a band together with Paddy Chambers (guitar) and John Frankland (vocals, guitar) and Gibson Kemp (drums) called The Eyes. The Eyes released two singles and Klaus Voormann drew a band portrait on their “She / Peanut Butter” single cover. Paddy Chambers had previously been a member of legendary Liverpool band The Big Three, Gibson Kemp (who later married Astrid Kirchherr) has been drummer for The Hurricanes and John Frankland who had been a member of Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes.

The Eyes
The Eyes “She / Peanut Butter” single cover drawn by Klaus Voormann.

And, yes, it’s the same drawing on the cover of the “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album, but with John Frankland (he in the cap peering over Gibson’s head) removed as he had left the band. Klaus Voormann had approved the revised cover design.

The “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album was produced by Dieter Hoffmann to collect the six tracks released by the trio in 1965-1966. He produced 300 copies – 100 copies each on black, clear and read vinyl. After contacting Dieter – a fellow medical doctor – I also bought the black and red vinyl versions to complete the collection.

So, once again I started to congratulate myself on “completing” my collection of Klaus Voorman record cover art when Thorsten Knublauch mentioned an early jazz album that Klaus had done a cover drawing for, much in the same style as his series for the “Pioneers of Jazz” series on the Coral Record label. The record, a radio broadcast recording, has the impossible title “Wer noch nie im Bett Radio gemacht hat“, which he translated as “Who never ever did radio in bed“. He even had a picture of the cover – a patient in a hosital bed hooked up to drop bottles.

The cover of Klaus Voormann's early Jazz LP
The cover of Klaus Voormann’s early Jazz LP “Wer noch nie im Bett Radio gemacht hat”.

Well, I really have to do some serious research to find a copy of this, not only because it’s a Klaus Voormann cover, but because I really love the medical subject! So, dear readers, please excuse me if I do not post any further posts for the foreseeable future – I’ll be out looking for this album.